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Cryptozoology? How about some CRYPTOBOTANY!

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posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 12:06 PM

Hello everyone. We've discussed crytpozoology numerous times in this forum. A slightly different but equally intriguing topic concerns cryptobotany. So I thought it would be fun to investigate that a bit.

Just like cryptozoology is the area which focuses on creatures not known to mainstream biology, cryptobotany focuses on mythological and legendary plants not recognized in scientific communities concerning mainstream botany. (1, 2).

Let's take a look at some examples of mythological and legendary plants.


We're most likely all familiar with the concept that talking to plants possibly enhances their health and growth while unsettling noises and music have negative impacts. Some consider it an urban legend of sorts or even an old wives tale. Others believe it has grounds on a scientific basis. (3).

There is a difference between that and the ancient belief of sentient plants, IMO, but others disagree and tie the two concept together. In that, ancient beliefs that plants had a life of their own.

Large old growth trees, according to Ken Carey and other mystics, develop sentience that is not present in younger trees. This perspective indicates that humans and nature can coexist and that the large old growth trees must be preserved as a parent or gardian consciousness of the forest. (4).


Never proven to actually exist, the Umdhelbi was an allegedly poisonous plant used in rituals and contained various paranormal qualities.

Umdhlebi is an unverified plant species purported to originate in Zululand, South Africa. It was first reported in the journal Nature on November 2, 1882 by Reverend G. W. Parker, a missionary in South Africa, who said the plant was poisonous.

According to Parker, Zulus sacrificed sheep and goats to the tree to calm the evil spirit. As of 2010, no specimen of the Umdhlebi has ever been recovered, and other than 19th century anecdotal evidence no further verification is known to exist (5).

A superstition is connected with this plant. Only a few persons in Zululand are supposed to be able to collect the fruits of the Umdhlebi, and these dare nut approach the tree except from the windward side. They also sacrifice a goat or a sheep to the demon of the tree, tying the animal to, or near the tree. The fruit is collected for the purpose of being used as the antidote to the poisonous effects of the tree from which they fall-for only the fallen fruit may be collected. (6).


Man-eating tree can refer to any of various legendary carnivorous plants that are large enough to kill and consume a person or other large animal. No such plant is known to exist, though a variety of unconfirmed reports have been recorded presently... (7).


Similar to the concept of 'super sized' Venus fly traps, ancient legends speak of plants so great, they had the ability to consume humans. One famous example is the LEGENDARY MAN-EATING TREE OF MADAGASCAR. Although we do know it is a fact that carnivorous plants definitely exist, the general consensus is that the Madagascar tree was a hoax or at least greatly exaggerated.

On the other hand, it is similar to the tales of the 'Ya-Te-Veo' of Central America (pictured above).


IMO, this one is purely mythological and has zero basis in fact unlike the above which at least have relations to things that could exist. Like other mythologies that were used to explain their world, the vegetable lamb of Tartary explained the origins of the cotton plant:

The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (Agnus scythicus or Planta Tartarica Barometz) is a mythical plant of central Asia, believed to grow sheep as its fruit. The sheep were connected to the plant by an umbilical cord and grazed the land around the plant. When all the grazing material was gone, both the plant and sheep died. In the medieval period, the plant was said to explain the existence of cotton. (8)



Raskovnik was a legendary type of grass that was believed to have the ability to pick locks. Although the grass apparently exists, no one can describe its appearance (9).


Unlike its cryptozoology counterpart, crytobotany is not as popular or well known. In fact, I stumbled on the subject by accident while reading something else. So I decided to look into a bit and share it with my fellow ATS members.

There's a bit more out there even including psychedelic plants believed to grant the consumer time/space travel abilities as well as telepathy but I refrained from listing those for obvious reasons.

Anyways, there you go. I thought it was a cool area I didn't know existed.

[edit on 8/17/2010 by AshleyD]

posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 01:35 PM
Would the Australian Wollemi pine be the 'Coelacanth' of the cryptobotany world? Not quite as exotic as The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, unfortunately...

posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 01:40 PM
Nice! I got hooked on the grass (ha ha) and had to go look up what Raskovnik was. I love those old fabels and legendary tales...Arhhhhhh

Source for pic

posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 02:09 PM
Interestingly, new discoveries are being made all the time - especially in places like Papua New Guinea, so who knows what is out there.

A form of giant, carnivorous Pitcher plant was recently discovered in the Philippines by Stewart McPherson


A plant big enough to digest mammals.

By the looks of it, I wouldnt recommend using the public toilets in the Filipino jungle!

posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 11:51 PM
Very interesting OP. Thanks for sharing.

Yeah, I agree - There are plenty of plants out there that are totally unknown to us and that have been around since the age of Dinos.

This honestly shows just how little that we know about our own backyard here on earth.

S&F for you

[edit on 17-8-2010 by -Blackout-]

posted on Aug, 25 2010 @ 09:34 AM
Don't forget the cow eating tree!

"A bazaar story told by the locals of a Indian Village, of a tree that wrapped around a cow and lifted the animal off the ground. A ax was used to deliver a fatal wound to the tree which then became limp. Villagers coped the tree to death and the cow was rescued." - from:

I thought this one was really weird! Especially since weeks before villagers had complained of their cows coming home without tails!

posted on Aug, 25 2010 @ 10:02 AM
Wow, really fascinating info! Thanks for looking into this and sharing with us. Now I can say I learned something new today! Funny though, did anyone else get "Little Shop Of Horrors" stuck in their head suddenly?...

posted on Aug, 25 2010 @ 10:12 AM
reply to post by AshleyD

I'm only qualified as a teacher when it comes to fire sciences. Some people play a doctor on ATS, sometimes i play a teacher on ATS, but i am always a student.

If i were a teacher i would give that an A.

If i were a mod, i would consider giving you some applause for that.
Do you know any mods? can you here me clapping?

thanks for sharing,

posted on Aug, 28 2010 @ 07:44 PM
An excellent post AshleyD, one that intrigues me very much.

Especially that bit about the Raskovnik. That could play an interesting part in a short story or book one of these days, and I certainly appreciate the rest of the writing too. I think I'll do a little more research into Cryptobotany.

Good thread!

posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 07:52 PM
Thanks for making this thread AshleyD.
It was a very interesting read.

The world is amazing place and in my opinion we as humans still have tons to discover and learn.


posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 08:10 PM
Very informative thanks AshleyD
Never even considered the field of cryptobotany. Thanks too to Silver Star for that bit on the Australian Wollemi pine. I wonder how much flora believed extinct is still growing in out of the way places.

posted on Aug, 29 2010 @ 09:12 PM
There is a lovely Camillia first discovered by Benjamin Franklin that has become lost, lost in the wild that is. There are cultivars of this tree but sadly none of the existing wild natives can be found.

It is called Franklinia alatamaha

Franklin Tree

Most people do not know this but the American Chestnut is gone, although an isolated grove of them was found in 2006 and their whereabouts is being kept secret. All current Chestnut trees in America are a cross of the Chinese and Japanese trees. The most recent discovery of our Native American Chestnut in 2006 may help in backbreeding efforts.

Castanea dentata

American Chestnut

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 08:29 PM
Sideroxylon grandiflorum

Dodo Tree

When the Dodo of Mauritius died out a symbiosis in Nature was broken. The Dodo Tree lost its companion.

Without the Dodo to digest the seeds and stratify the hardcoat casing, the seeds could no longer germinate. After 100 years, since the trees are so long-lived, it was noted that there were no more baby trees.

Efforts by way of turkey have allowed future seedlings to be germinated and plantings have probably already begun by now, I can imagine that the island is feeling this influx of new life after so long without it.

The Dodo was actually a flightless pigeon.

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 08:32 PM
I would LOVE to have a tree that grew sheep as its fruit.

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